Hay Fever is catching. The 1925 Noel Coward play has been enjoying a new life in the regions in celebration of the playwrights birthday centennial. Productions of the play have sprung up from Houston to Los Angeles.
June 2, the Olney Theatre in Maryland will join the list of companies with Hay Fever in their season. The comedy runs through July 1. Two time Helen Hayes Award winner John Going directs.
Coward wrote Hay Fever based on the real-life parties he attended at the home of actress Laurette Taylor (later famous for creating Amanda in The Glass Menagerie) and her husband, Hartley Manners, on the Upper West Side. He moves the action from the city to the country as the sarcastically-named Bliss family draft four guests into the clan's war-like gaming atmosphere. The challenges of charades are turned into the ultimate opportunity for one-upmanship.
Ross Bickell and Patricia Hodges star as David and Judith Bliss. A regional theatre staple, Bickell performed in the national tour and Broadway production of A Few Good Men. Hodges recently played opposite Mary Louise Parker in Alan Ayckbourn's Communicating Doors.
Also in the cast are Tricia McCauley (Sorel Bliss), Jerry Richardson (Simon Bliss), Peggy Yates (Myra Arundel), David Staller (Richard Greathem), Michelle Six (Jackie Coryton), Don Goodspeed (Sandy Tyrell) and Rena Cherry Brown (Clara). Designing the show are James Wolk (sets), Dan Covey (lighting), Jim L. Alford (costumes) and Ron Ursano/The Chroma Group (sound). Michael Kramer is the stage manager.
Tickets are $32-$15. The Olney Theatre Center for the Arts is located at 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road. For tickets and information, call (301) 924-3400. The Olney Theatre is on the web at http://www.olneytheatre.org.
-- ByChristine Ehren